Fundraising Success In The New Universe

Our known universe has changed.  Savings rates for individuals are trending up.  Philanthropy is down.  The mega-gifts that fueled campaigns (and fundraising totals) over the past few decades are decreasing.  The housing market is still tanking in many areas so people are feeling much “less rich.”  And unemployment remains stubbornly high.

Most everything we’ve understood about how to raise money was based on the exact opposite of these trends.  As examples:

  • Want to be successful in a campaign?  Get a number huge “lead” or “principal” gifts.
  • Want to raise more operational dollars?  Send out more direct mail solicitations – as many as you can to donors and non-donors.

In many respects, the changes we are experiencing today in the economic and fundraising environments are similar to a scientist coming forward with evidence that Galileo was wrong and the Earth is, indeed, the center of the universe.  Everything is upside down.

But we can be successful in this new universe.

Successfully navigating our new landscape requires a new plan.   A plan created on principles that will provide your development programs with the best opportunities to be successful in 2011 and beyond.

What principles should your new fundraising plan be built upon?  I think there are 5:

  1. Income Stream Diversity
  2. Database Depth
  3. Bench Depth
  4. Big Value Communication
  5. The Practice of Immersion

Over the next few posts, I will highlight each of these principles and encourage you to adopt approaches that make implementation of these principles possible.

The fundraising world has changed and continues to change.  2011 gives us the exciting opportunity to change with it.   I look forward to the ride with each of you!

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